Reasons for a Missed Period in Women
Why Did I Miss My Period?
Most women have about 11 to 13 menstrual periods every year, give or take a few, and many women tend to average out at about one period per month, so it’s important to understand the reasons for missed periods.
A missed period is often a cause of stress and worry in girls and women, particularly because reasons for missed periods often include one of the signs of pregnancy.
However, missed periods are not always a reason for worry and are not always a sign of pregnancy. In fact, missed periods are relatively common in women, especially in those prone to irregular menstruation.
Although a missed period could indicate pregnancy, there are a multitude of other conditions which can cause a woman to miss her period.
Top ten reasons for missed periods
Pregnancy is the most common reasons for missed periods in women who are sexually active. Women who believe they may be pregnant and have experienced one or more missed periods should seek confirmation from a home pregnancy test and a physician.
2. Excessive Weight
Women who are overweight may experience missed periods due to the extra fat on their bodies. This extra fat can effect hormones, which help control menstrual cycles, and cause missing or irregular periods. Typically, weight loss will return a normal period cycle.
3. Excessive Weight Loss
Women who are underweight may also experience missed periods. Women who have very little body fat may experience a condition called amenorrhea, or the complete elimination of their menstrual period. This is because the body lacks enough fat and energy to complete a normal menstrual cycle. Weight can usually reverse this condition and return the period.
4. Eating Disorders
Women who have eating disorders, regardless of their weight, also tend to experience missed periods due to the imbalance of hormones in their body and the effect that dramatic weight loss, weight gain or weight loss methods (such as excessive vomiting) can have on their body. Physical treatment, such as weight gain and the removal of weight loss methods, can usually restore a normal menstrual cycle.
Stress can have a major effect on the body, and the menstrual cycle is no exception. Stress can cause the body to decrease the amount of a certain hormone which regulates the menstrual cycle, causing periods to be missed or to become irregular. Women who believe excessive stress may be causing their missed periods will need to work with a doctor to figure out methods of relaxation and stress reduction.
6. Lifestyle Changes
A major change in lifestyle, such as going from day schedules to night schedules, can throw the body out of whack. Menstrual periods may be affected, and missed periods can result. Usually, all it takes for women to resolve missed periods caused by a lifestyle change is to stick it out – when the body becomes used to the new schedule, it should begin to regulate itself normally again.
Certain medications, particularly birth control medications, can have side effects that include irregular or missed periods. Women experiencing this side effect should talk to a doctor about lessening the effect or possibly switching medications.
8. Hormonal imbalance
Hormonal imbalances which are not caused by medication, weight loss/gain or stress may also be the cause of missed periods in women. Hormonal imbalances can happen for a multitude of reasons and can sometimes be regulated by medications which control the level of certain hormones in the body.
Women who believe their missed periods are caused by hormonal imbalances should discuss their problem with a physician.
Missed periods are also a sign of menopause, which is the period in a woman’s life when she will no longer menstruate or ovulate. Menopause can happen naturally, or surgically through procedures such as a hysterectomy or certain chemotherapies.
Is your period 3 or 5 days late? Sometimes, a missed period is not actually a missed period at all but a simple miscalculation on a woman’s part. Because the menstrual cycle varies from woman to woman and is not a standardized process, women may feel that they have missed a period when in fact, their menstrual cycle just happens to be different from the standard cycle presented in most health related literature.
When should a doctor be seen for Unknown Reasons for Missed Periods?
Missed periods are not always a cause for seeking out the help of a physician, however there are some instances where the advice of a doctor is helpful or even necessary. Women who believe they are pregnant should seek confirmation from a physician, as well as women who believe they may be approaching or going through menopause.
Certain conditions like stress or lifestyle changes that cause missed periods may not require medical intervention unless the menstrual cycle does not normalize on its own after the reduction of stress and a few weeks into a new lifestyle or schedule.
If the missed periods are accompanied by any other medical abnormalities or conditions, such as unusual discharge or abdominal pain, a physician should be sought out to rule out any more serious conditions.
Sometimes, missed periods are associated with more serious conditions like liver damage or diabetes, however these are more uncommon cases and the missed periods are usually incidental side effects to the more serious symptoms of these conditions.
In most cases, women can deal with their missed periods by relaxing and waiting a few months to see if their menstrual cycle gets back on its regular track and understand what the reasons for missed periods was.